Cultivating Creativity

Montessori Stepping Stones

We are a private school located in the metropolitan Detroit area. Our mission is to create a positive, success-based, Montessori environment in which students, parents, and staff thrive.

By clicking on the titles below, you will learn more about our educational programs at Montessori Stepping Stones, plus our Childcare program and our outstanding Performing Arts program.

Please scroll down to request a tour of our facilities, or if you need more information we are always available to answer any questions you may have.

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Programs

We offer a variety of programs here at Montessori Stepping Stones including Infant/Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and Childcare for students who are enrolled in one of our classrooms.

Please click on the titles below to learn about each or our programs, our specialization in performing arts, the hours for the individual classroom programs, and childcare hours before and after school.

Infant/Toddler

Introduction

The infant/toddler program at Montessori Stepping Stones serves children from birth to three years old. Children are accepted on a full or part-time basis. (For Program hours – See last tab on page).

The Montessori infant/toddler program is specially designed to help children develop: cognitive, motor, sensory, language, social, practical life, and independence skills.

fun-and-games-outsideOur highly skilled, nurturing link: staff guides the children throughout their day, allowing them to explore the environment, while promoting skills in every area of development.

Positive discipline and prevention techniques are also used, which protect the growth and individual needs of each child.

The multi-aged setting of our infant/toddler program allows children, at every stage of development, the opportunity to see other children performing tasks in the next stage. The children become tiny role models for each other. Examples include: the six-month-old watching the twelve-month-old walk and the eighteen-month-old observing the two-year-old setting the table.

All children in the infant/toddler program are given the freedom of movement, exploration, and guidance, coupled with the materials needed to transition smoothly to the next developmental level.

Independence Skills

If infants and toddlers could voice their single greatest wish, it would be, “Help me do it by myself.” Independence skills are extremely important to the children; therefore, we take our job of helping them help themselves very seriously. The staff at Montessori Stepping Stones is highly skilled at knowing when to step in, and when to allow the children to continue trying to complete the task on their own.
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Practical life activities, both on the shelf and in real situations throughout the day, allow the children to practice their independence skills on an on-going basis. Dressing themselves, pouring their own glasses of water, or using the bathroom independently are examples of daily activities. These acts allow children the freedom to try it themselves, while the teachers observe carefully, and help them if they struggle.

Toilet Training

Traditional philosophies, as with most areas of development, do not trust the child to learn the toilet training process at a very young age. In doing this, they miss the sensitive training period, which occurs when the child is around 18 months old. We prepare the child right from birth by helping them understand that they are not passive in this process, but instead an active participant. During this stage we are able to catch them during their most developmentally ready period, making toilet training possible by the age of two.

Our school adheres to the Montessori philosophy of toilet training through active participation. These contributions include:

— Telling the infant what is happening while the diaper is being changed
— Changing the young toddler’s diaper while standing in front of a mirror
— Helping the older toddler successfully use the toilet independently

Sensorial/Mathematics

At Montessori Stepping Stones, the infant/toddler program is filled with sensorial and math materials. Some of these materials that can be found in every room include:

— Categorizing
— Shape matching
— Puzzles
— Knobbed cylinders
— The brown stair
— The pink tower
— and many other gradation materials

In addition, the toddlers begin to work with number symbols in correlation with counting.
Sensorial materials, in the Montessori curriculum, are the beginning of math and geometry. Using this curriculum, the teachers present materials that encourage children to utilize all of their senses to learn more about their world. These materials indirectly prepare them for advanced work in the decimal system, along with geometric planes and solids.

Language/Social Skills

Infants and toddlers absorb language through their environment; therefore, we provide the children with classrooms that are rich with language. The teachers talk to the children throughout the day in conversation and lessons, while giving nouns and adjectives to everything around them. We do this with articulation, while remaining soft and quiet in our tone. Toddlers also work with sandpaper letters, learning the first sounds and their symbols. Every lesson in the infant/toddler program, regardless of what it is, is essentially a language lesson as well.

Social skills are also an important part of the language curriculum. Communicating with each other, through sign language if the children are nonverbal, is a process learned with teacher guidance. The children are taught to use their words, rather than their bodies, when another child is doing something they do not like. They also practice their very best manners setting the table, saying please and thank you, and respecting each other’s space at the community lunch table.

Science

The infant/toddler science curriculum begins with a whole world of discovery at Montessori Stepping Stones. Freedom of movement, and other independence skills, are a major part of learning science. As the children explore the environment, they make new connections in their brains with every touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell.

Our teachers guide the children through a study of zoology, as they present many different types of animals and their groups, sounds, and characteristics.

Botany also starts in the classroom with the care and keeping of plants.
Both areas of science continue outside as the children go on nature walks around campus, and talk with the teachers about the plant and animal life that is all around them.

Cultural Studies

Cultural studies are an important part of our curriculum, even with our infants and toddlers.

— We introduce American Sign Language beginning with our youngest students.
— Great art is displayed and discussed in every room.
— The toddlers have a Montessori globe that is used to learn the continents of the world.
They love to point at each one while they sing the continent song.
— They also taste food from around the world, as a part of science and cultural studies
combined.

 

Preschool

Introduction

Our preschoolers are included in our primary program, which is geared for three to six-year-olds. This program provides a solid foundation and love of learning, which will be carried with your children through the rest of their academic and social lives. Our child-centered approach promotes independence, freedom within limits, and time for uninterrupted work, keeping within the rules of the classroom.

The multi-age classroom setting provides the opportunity for older children to serve as role models for the younger children, a job they truly cherish. Children growing up in our multi-age classrooms feel free to be friends with others, regardless of how old they may be, essentially erasing the linesTaking great care drawn by age.

The materials in the preschool environment span from the most beginning works to the most advanced for the three to six-year-old age span. Therefore, if your child is highly developed in a particular area of curriculum, he/she can be constantly challenged by moving through the advanced materials. Likewise, if your child needs a bit more time or help in another area of curriculum, it is available to him/her.

In the traditional classroom setting, children are the same age, learning the same things, at the same time, regardless of academic level. These restrictions and constraints are nonexistent at Montessori Stepping Stones. Instead, the curriculum, learning, exploration, and creativity are limitless. This prepares our children for a lifetime of learning in this ever-changing world. To view our program hours click here.

Practical Life

Traditional activities of family life are known as “practical life work” in the Montessori classroom. These accomplishments are some of the most important areas of educating the child for life. Practical life work provides practice in hand-eye coordination, along with use and control of large and small muscles. In addition, this work is a way to learn responsibility for the classroom and school, while showing how to behave with courtesy and good manners. Practical life presentations include: transferring, pouring, using scissors, dusting, polishing, dish washing, table scrubbing, plant watering, and many more. These activities teach children to be aware of their own needs, the needs of others, along with consciousness of the world around them.

The practical life curriculum also has a great impact on the development of the child’s sense of concentration, order, self-discipline, and independence. Children learn how to concentrate and focus on an activity, follow a sequence of steps, finish what they start, and most importantly, contribute to the family, the school, and to their community.

Sensorial

Sensorial materials, in the Montessori curriculum, include: math, geometry, perception, observation, fine visual discrimination, and classification. The teachers present materials to encourage children to utilize all of their senses, which help them learn more about their world. These materials indirectly prepare them for advanced work in the decimal system, geometric planes and solids, and play a major role in helping children develop a sense of logic and concentration.

Preschool children work with smelling bottles, baric tablets, color tablets, red rods, the brown stair, knobbed and knobless cylinders, the pink tower, and many other materials, while using their senses to order the materials from largest to smallest, thinnest to thickest, lightest to darkest, shortest to longest, etc. The grading of these specially designed materials prepares the children for counting, measurement, and future work with the decimal system.

Children also learn the names and basic shapes of geometric figures and solids through exploration of metal insets, the geometry cabinet, and the geometric solids work. The geometry cabinet is then used to teach children more advanced concepts, such as the different types of polygons, triangles, rectangles, and irregular forms.

Mathematics

Our Montessori math curriculum begins with the concrete and moves to the abstract. We never give anything to the child and expect them to understand it, without giving them hands-on experience first. This very important concept, in the preschool years, allows children to: recognize number symbols, match them to their quantity, build complex numbers into the thousands, and even perform static addition with complex numbers while using Montessori math materials.

Language

Adhering to our goal of providing the highest quality Montessori environment, Montessori Stepping Stones’ reading program moves at each individual child’s pace. As with mathematics, reading begins with hands-on experiences. We start by introducing the three and four-year-old children to the sounds of the alphabet, through sandpaper letters. The children trace the letter with their fingertips while repeating the sound aloud. They take several steps in this process, including games like I Spy, while working with additional materials such as: tracing letters in the sand tray, drawing them on the chalkboard, using the sound matching board, and building words with the moveable alphabet. This essentially allows the children to move from writing to reading.

Science

The study of science begins the moment life begins. Human beings are constantly studying, exploring, experimenting, and experiencing the world around us. The curriculum at Montessori Stepping Stones begins with the classification of the living and nonliving.
The primary classrooms then take the category of the living and explore two of the five kingdoms – plants and animals.

In the primary classroom, the vertebrate animals are introduced one at a time throughout the year, beginning with fish. The teachers discuss the characteristics of the animal, show examples of different species, present materials that correlate with the animal being studied, and bring in a live specimen for the children to care for, feed, and observe for the remainder of the year. Each animal class is introduced every couple of months until the classroom has materials and live animals representing all five classes at the end of the year.

The botany curriculum begins in practical life through the care and keeping of plants in the classroom. The children are proud of their role of watering the plants, turning the soil, and washing the leaves.

Cultural Studies

The study of culture begins in the primary classroom with lessons on globes, map-making, introduction of different languages, and learning social skills. We also introduce the children to art, photographs, dolls, and books pertaining to children living in other parts of the world. Parents who attend the International Festival performance in October, where the kindergarteners sing their first solos of the year, get a firsthand glimpse into our cultural studies at school.
Peace and respect, an important aspect of our cultural studies curriculum, permeate every aspect of Montessori Stepping Stones. This approach is taken into every activity, including the student’s work and play, and even how teachers interact with students. In this way, the Montessori cultural curriculum charges young people to be “stewards of the world” and empowers them with confidence and capability.

Kindergarten

Building a future togetherIntroduction

Kindergarten, at Montessori Stepping Stones, is a full day program (view our program hours on last tab below). Children attending kindergarten spend their morning in a primary classroom, ages 3-6, where they receive their lessons in the core curriculum areas and benefit from the multi-age environment. In the afternoon, the kindergarten children, from each of the three primary classrooms, join together in the extended day classroom.

During this afternoon session, taking place from 12:30-3:30, the children have time to work with their peers and practice their independent thinking and learning skills. This program offers a wealth of extensions to the core Montessori curriculum, including: art exploration, science experimentation, cooking, nutrition, study of the human body, a more in-depth study of cultures, advanced practical life activities, sensorial extensions, field trips, and much more.

The kindergarten year is the culmination of the Montessori primary program three-year cycle. During the third year, the child is able to bring together all the information they have been absorbing from the previous two years. These children have the opportunity to be role models for the younger children and finally become class leaders.

Kindergarten children at Montessori Stepping Stones truly blossom and earn the rewards they have worked so hard to achieve.

Mathematics

Children, in their kindergarten year at Montessori Stepping Stones, have had a great deal of experience with our math materials during their preschool years, and have formed a solid foundation of knowledge in the decimal system and linear counting.

DurFocused studenting kindergarten, the children continue to work with this familiar material, while moving toward more advanced work. Over a long period of time, the repeated use of the hands-on, Montessori material proves to be crucial to the understanding of abstract mathematics, both now and in the future.

Although they have already begun to develop the concept of addition from their previous years, it is during kindergarten that they develop a deeper understanding. They also continue building an understanding of all four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, by using the Montessori golden bead material.

The colored bead bars, which they previously used for linear counting, become an advanced material for making tens, skip counting, and memorization of addition and multiplication facts, in the kindergarten year.

Language

The kindergarteners at Montessori Stepping Stones have a very focused, individualized reading curriculum. Our staff continues to work with them on their single sounds, while adding letter blends and phonograms utilizing: the sand tray, sand paper letters, chalkboard, and moveable alphabet. The language lessons also help the children learn the parts of speech through our grammar curriculum. For example, they use our Montessori farm work to practice reading nouns and acting out verbs.

The reading process begins with writing as the children begin to build their own sentences using the moveable alphabet. They also learn by writing the words that they are practicing reading. In addition, they begin to read our Montessori designed, beginner books. By the end of the school year, most kindergarteners are reading early reader books, and some are even reading beginner chapter books. All of this is made possible through our writing into reading program, which is unique to the Montessori curriculum.

Science

The study of science begins the moment life begins. Human beings are constantly studying, exploring, experimenting, and experiencing the world around us. The curriculum at Montessori Stepping Stones begins with the classification of the living and nonliving. The primary classrooms then take the category of the living and explore two of the five kingdoms – plants and animals.

In the primary classroom, the vertebrate animals are introduced one at a time throughout the year, beginning with fish. The teachers discuss the characteristics of the animal, show examples of different species, present materials that correlate with the animal being studied, and bring in a live specimen for the children to care for, feed, and observe for the remainder of the year. Each animal class is introduced every couple of months until the classroom has materials and live animals representing all five classes at the end of the year.Amazing student

The botany curriculum begins in practical life through the care and keeping of plants in the classroom. The children are proud of their role of watering the plants, turning the soil, and washing the leaves. They learn how the plants grow from seeds as they participate in tending the vegetable garden outside.

Cultural Studies

The study of culture begins in the primary classroom with lessons on globes, map-making, introduction of different languages, and learning social skills. We also introduce the children to art, photographs, dolls, and books pertaining to children living in other parts of the world. Parents, who attend the International Festival performance in October, where the kindergarteners sing their first solos of the year, get a firsthand glimpse into our cultural studies at school.

Peace and respect, an important aspect of our cultural studies curriculum, permeate every aspect of Montessori Stepping Stones. This approach is taken into every activity, including the student’s work and play, and even how teachers interact with students. In this way, the Montessori cultural curriculum charges young people to be “stewards of the world” and empowers them with confidence and capability.

Sensorial

The sensorial curriculum, also known as education through the senses, encourages children to learn more about their world. This curriculum plays a major role in the development of a sense of logic and concentration in the children.

Kindergarten students at Montessori Stepping Stones experience the sensorial materials, on a basic level, during their preschool years. The same materials are used to do extensions, involving multiple steps, processes, and materials, in the kindergarten year. In doing this, they continue to develop perception, observation, fine visual discrimination, and classification skills.

Kindergarteners also continue working with geometry concepts, advancing their knowledge of geometric solids and plane figures, including: different types of polygons, triangles, rectangles, and irregular forms.

Practical Life

Some of the most important areas of educating the child for life are the Montessori practical life works. In kindergarten, these activities are more meaningful to these older children, such as dressing oneself, learning his/her home address and phone number, using simple carpentry tools, learning procedures for fire and tornado emergencies at home, simple cooking and food preparation, weaving, and much more.

Practical life work provides practice in hand-eye coordination, use and control of large and small muscles, a way to learn responsibility for the classroom and school, while showing how to behave with courtesy and good manners. These activities teach children to be aware of their own needs, the needs of others, along with the consciousness of the world around them.

The practical life curriculum also has a great impact on the development of the child’s sense of concentration, order, self-discipline, and independence. Children learn how to concentrate and focus on an activity, follow a sequence of steps, finish what they start, and most importantly, contribute to the family, the school, and to their community.

Elementary

Introduction

First day and back at itElementary at Montessori Stepping Stones is housed in the Dogwood Room of our main building, and encompasses grades first through sixth. Building on a solid foundation acquired in the primary program (preschool and kindergarten), elementary students continue to form their love of learning that will grow with them through the rest of their lives. We take our child-centered approach to the next level in elementary, fostering academic excellence while maintaining independence, freedom within limits, and an uninterrupted work cycle.

Practical Life

The very basic practical life work that started in the primary classroom are expanded to more complex and detailed work in the elementary. Practical life is also extended outside the classroom, and into the community through “going out” trips with a parent or teacher. These trips are usually an extension of a lesson that is started in the classroom. Trips may be to a museum or science center for further research, or to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a cultural dish that the students will cook later in the classroom.

Mathematics

The mathematics curriculum, at Montessori Stepping Stones, can be viewed as simply awe-inspiring. The elementary students are able to work through very complex mathematical equations, at grade levels that are unexpected.

First graders grasp geometry concepts, such as naming polygons by the number of sides, while explaining the Greek etymology of each. Second graders are able to do multiplication problems, with unlimited multiplicands, and double or even triple digit multipliers. Fourth graders work effortlessly through algebraic equations, such as the cube of a trinomial, that are not normally introduced to children until high school. All of this is possible due to the hands-on Montessori materials such as: the checkerboard, stamp game, trinomial cube, test tube division, bead cabinet, geometry cabinet, and much more, combined with the expertise of our elementary teachers.

Language

The Montessori Stepping Stones elementary language curriculum is divided into seven separate areas: reading, writing, spelling, Wasting no time first day back to school elementarygrammar, word study, sentence analysis, and punctuation. Every child in the elementary classroom experiences each language area at his/her own level. Lesson plans in all curriculum areas are individualized so that every child is getting what he/she needs.

We work closely to see that each child is progressing appropriately in his/her reading and comprehension ability through book clubs and daily reading aloud to a teacher. In addition, every child does some form of spelling practice on a daily basis, and the older children in the room take weekly spelling tests. Word study, sentence analysis, and punctuation lessons are also a vital part of the curriculum.

Montessori Stepping Stones gives children the opportunity to excel beyond constraints of traditional education, by way of the beautifully crafted materials, and highly skilled teachers.

Science

The Montessori science curriculum is a comprehensive survey of all major sciences, including: zoology, botany, geology, astronomy, archeology, chemistry, and physics. The subject of science is part of a Montessori integrated curriculum, where definite lines between subjects are not easily drawn. For example, a lesson on minerals and rocks might also incorporate geography locations and features, math may include graphs, and language can incorporate report writing and communication. Another interesting element is music- did you know that you can make music with rocks?

Cultural Studies

At Montessori Stepping Stones, our cultural curriculum involves many subjects, which are integrated into a peace and respect theme. Subjects such as geography, history, and social studies are taught in a hierarchical spiral. Each subject is introduced and revisited each year. A deep understanding of the world, the people who live there, and the movement and measurement of time are goals at the elementary level. The Montessori cultural curriculum charges young people to be “stewards of the world” and empowers them with confidence and capability.

Middle School

Introduction

The middle school program at Montessori Stepping Stones is housed in the loft of our main building. It is a brand new program which will start with seventh grade for the 2016-2017 school year. Additional grades will be added in the future. In middle school, the students continue to build upon their strong Montessori foundation while exploring themselves and their place as an adult in socPublic transportationiety.
The program continues with the Montessori ideal of person-centered learning
by providing choice within limits, extended blocks of time for work, and leadership opportunities.

Practical Life

Practical life work continues to increase in responsibility and complexity in the middle school program. Students continue to build self-discipline and initiative while taking responsibility for their own environment. Practical life also extends outside the classroom with going out trips and field learning. This provides the students the opportunity to experience learning in a real world context for greater meaning and depth of understanding. These trips could include going out to a museum or other outing for further research. The students might also go out for other practical life reasons such as riding public transportation, opening an account at a bank, or shopping for food preparation. Student led small businesses will help the students learn practical skills and will empower students through the ability to contribute financially to their own learning by earning money for going out trips.

Integrated Learning

In the middle school program learning is integrated among subjects. Common themes in core subjects are highlighted and explored for greater depth of understanding. Students complete projects that involve multiple subjects (i.e. science and social studies) to assist them in this learning.

Service Projects

Middle school students picking up litter at stoney creek-parkStudents in the middle school program will participate in various community service projects. This helps create a sense of responsibility for the earth and the community. Through this work, students will also continue to enhance their sense of empathy while learning to value relationships over materialism.

Community Building

Community building will occur through various activities including student led community meetings as well as student led small businesses. This will encourage cooperation over competition. It will also empower students to feel worthy and capable in their own community. Finally, students can utilize this opportunity to enhance their problem solving techniques.

Childcare

Childcare is available for our enrolled preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students before and after school. It is open from 6:30AM to 8:30AM and 3:30PM to 6:00PM. The childcare room is located in our main building, at 174 Cass Avenue. This program may be used on an as needed basis without prior notice for an hourly rate, or regularly for a flat rate by indicating such in the Program Selection section of the Enrollment Contract.

The infant/toddler classrooms are open from 6:30AM to 6:00PM in the building at 178 Cass Avenue. The half-day class session runs from 8:30AM to 11:30AM. Additional hours may be used at an hourly rate by indicating such on the Schedule Request Form. Choosing the full day program enables you to drop off and pick up at any time within the hours that we are open for a flat rate; again, you must state your child’s schedule on the Schedule Request Form.

Childcare at Montessori Stepping Stones is unique. Our philosophy is that children do their best when they are provided consistent rules and structure. To adhere to this way of thinking, our childcare program is run and staffed by highly trained, experienced classroom teachers.

Your children will have access to the full Montessori Curriculum during their time in childcare, as well as additional extension materials. In this way, we are able to offer the same respectful and peaceful environment you would find during the school day. At Montessori Stepping Stones, we offer a complete Montessori experience from the classroom, to the playground, to childcare.

Summer

Currently enrolled children, and alumni of all ages, can attend the Montessori Stepping Stones summer program. During the summer, all classrooms continue to focus on a Montessori curriculum, as well as extensive summer enrichment activities, such as: exploration of nature, science experiments, fruit tasting, craft projects, and much more!

Childcare is open as usual during the summer session.
Infants and Toddlers will be cared for in their own classrooms: the Sweet Pea, Buttercup, and Redbud Rooms.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners, for the coming school year, attend the summer program in the Daisy Room.
Children who are enrolled in our elementary program, for the coming school year, are invited to attend our Kids Club. This program is held in our Daffodil Room.

Performing Arts

Every child attending Montessori Stepping Stones receives music education five days a week. During these sessions, the children play and learn movement, songs, finger plays, choreographed steps, and listening games. The elementary students study music history, appreciation, and composers. Using the Montessori music materials, they also learn pitch, transposition, and composition.

Our students in preschool, kindergarten and elementary, host three music programs during the school year.
— International Festival
— Holiday Program
— Opera/Musical
Each of these programs is held on a stage with choreography, singing, and costuming. The goal of these music programs is to teach children how to stand on stage, how to sing and dance, and how to be comfortable performing in front of an audience. Every child, beginning in kindergarten through elementary, preforms a solo in each program. These attributes also help children later in life, by eliminating the fear of public speaking.

Program Hours

Infant/Toddler

Half-Day Morning Session: 8:30AM – 11:30AM
Full Day Session: 6:30AM – 6:00PM

Half-Day Preschool

Morning Session: 8:30AM – 11:30AM
Afternoon Session: 12:30PM – 3:30PM
Morning with Lunch Hour: 8:30AM – 12:30PM
Afternoon with Lunch Hour: 11:30AM – 3:30PM

Full Day Preschool

Full Day: 8:30AM – 3:30PM

Elementary

Full Day: 8:30AM – 3:30PM

Before and After Care

Before Care: 6:30AM – 8:30AM
After Care: 3:30PM – 6:00PM

Request a Tour

We are always happy to provide a guided tour of our wonderful facilities. Our staff will answer any inquiry you may have regarding our school, and can provide an admissions application for you. Montessori Stepping Stones has over 31 years of providing excellent education and care.

Using the form below, please submit your request for a tour, or feel free to leave us a message with any questions or information that you feel would be helpful to us in serving your needs… Thank you!

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